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    whether you're using it for business or personal brand-building, social media is important. by now, we all know that. but, understanding the importance of social media doesn't mean we're all automatically good at using the different platforms. in my experience, it has taken a lot of research, thought, and trial and error to figure out a solid social media strategy - and this has been especially true for Instagram.
    I've been focusing heavily on the emma mckinstry Instagram account for a little while now, and though there are always tweaks to be made, I've learned a lot of helpful tips and tricks about the platform along the way. the visual medium lends itself well to a wide range of business or personal endeavors - but because it is so visual, your Instagram feed will be most effective if it looks really nice. not exactly rocket science, but something people seem to forget quite easily.
    with that, here are my top five tips for improving your Instagram game. and as always, feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment below. (if you don't yet, follow along with all things emma mckinstry on our Instagram account!)
    1. social media is social. though overnight success stories might have you thinking differently, we can't all just throw a few pictures up on Instagram and watch the followers pour in. in order to attract people to your account, be social on the social media platform. interact with other users' images with likes or comments. at a networking event, you wouldn't just stand in the corner and wait for people to approach you - so don't do that on social media either!
    2. use editing apps. sure, Instagram and your phone both have some built-in editing features - but if you really want your pictures to look great, take the time to use a proper photo editing app. editing apps can adjust your images with a bit more sensitivity and give you more freedom to make the changes your image needs. with the right edits, you can completely transform a mediocre-quality phone picture into something fantastic. my favorite editing apps - and the ones I use for every picture I post - are VSCO (which has some great pre-set filters) and snapseed.
    3. consider your entire feed as well as each individual picture. yes, each picture that you post matters, but what also matters - and often doesn't get the attention it should - is how your entire feed looks, as a single unit. try sticking to a uniform color scheme or 'feel' - pictures with lots of white space, for example, or over-saturated shots. using the same filter across all of your pictures is a great, easy way to achieve a consistent look.
    4. take photos often. unless you're already a wildly talented photographer with a deep portfolio to pull from, start taking pictures all. the. time. and of everything. practice makes perfect, after all, and the more pictures you take, the better you'll get and the more options you'll have for your Instagram feed.
    5. plan ahead. this is one of the most helpful tips I've learned - and one I try to use as often as possible. plan your Instagram posts ahead of time so you don't find yourself scrambling for an image, only to end up posting something subpar because you had no other options. I use the VSCO app to plan; you can import images into the app in a grid that looks just like your Instagram feed. it helps me to see how my pictures flow, and to make sure I have enough content for the week.
    follow  @emma_mckinstry on Instagram!